– Callan Field
When I was young, I thought you were dying.
You were so sick, it seemed like the only possibility.
You were always sleeping, always exhausted, it was a fight just to stand up, a fight just to walk.
I remember the early days when I’d get home from school, and you’d get up to make dinner.
And go back to bed as soon as we were done.
You’d get back up to eat, and immediately return after.
The day I knew you weren’t going to die on me, was the day when you were cleaning when I got home. That was the day I knew you’d eventually be ok.
But it didn’t stop me from imagining your death, at conjuring the terror of what it would be like if you left me behind.
Even in illness, you were my strongest ally and my only childhood friend.
Even in your petite and compact body, you stood up for me.
You were the person who was always there for me, even though you needed me to care for you.
You always cared about me and my life, when everyone else seemed to look at me as trash.
You would make the trip to school to fight administrators who took the side of bullies, and you would do it on days that you should’ve stayed in bed.
You would always listen to me, and do what you could.
When I punched Jonathan in the nose for harassing me again, you had my back.
And whenever I said I was too sick to go to school, you didn’t fight me on it, because you knew that I’d only call home sick later that day.
You taught me that it was ok to cry – even if I was a bit embarrassed by how easily and often you did – but I learned to see that your vulnerability was not a weakness
Because you were more in touch with your emotions that anyone I’ve ever met.
And despite your illness and your weaknesses, you showed me what it was like to live the fight, to struggle everyday in the direction you wanted to go.
It was a lesson I wish I wouldn’t need but I did when I got sick at the age of 24.
Thank you for always protecting me.
Thank you for always believing in me.
Thank you for always being my ally.
Thank you for being my mom.
Callan Field is a Queer Canadian multidisciplinary artist. Regardless of the medium, his work is driven by research, experimentation and a desire to reveal the complexity of the world around us while critiquing the status quo. He currently lives and works on Treaty 7 Territory in Calgary, Alberta.